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General discussion regarding the techniques and methods used to successfully grow tomato plants in containers.

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #181
AKmark
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Thanks BVV. IRT is the go to in AK, but we use it to warm the soil, and put small hoops over it also for additional heat.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #182
zipcode
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nematode View Post
oz/100 gal

Magnesium Sulfate 5.4
Yara Calcium Nitrate 9
Calcium Chloride 1.6
Potassium Nitrate 6.3 (5.9)
CHEM-GRO TOMATO 6.6
Sea 90 SEA SALT 6 (3.0)

off to the mixing lab....
I think that you are deviating from 'the formula' so much by adding stuff, that you are reducing the microelements to low levels. I personally think the micros in this formula are somewhat low already, and they certainly have a role in taste as well.
I don' think EC is the only way to have taste. Organic fertilizer doesn't really increase EC (or so they say, I don't have an EC meter, I'm kind of curious) and one can get good stuff with it, just having a good balance of food should be enough. My plants are always well watered and taste is still great with organics, especially at beginning of season.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #183
Nematode
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Hi Zip,
Yes an interesting observation.
The formula was very low in potassium and a little low but probably ok in nitrate. I could have just boosted K.
This is not as low in micros as it looks, the salt is sea salt which has lots of micros, including some that are missing in the commercial mix like silicate. Others are pushing the upper limits. Copper and B especially.
It does come up a little short in zinc, which I may supplement. Will post analysis later....
This mix by the way tracks the macro nutrient levels in the University of Arizona recommendation for generic hydroponic mix for tomato pepper and cucumber, well without the salt of course.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #184
Nematode
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Variety also makes a difference. Sungold and Aunt Ruby German Green are still good.
Hearts and beefsteaks suffer a lot in the flavor department with the canned formula. They may all get sauced.

I am very demanding of flavor in my tomatoes. If they are not absolutely amazing I will make adjustments until they are.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #185
zipcode
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Never knew that the sea salt has so much good stuff in it.
Seems I was mistaken about the content of microelements, was looking at the yara I planned to use last year, and seems they use much lower amounts for some reason, from 3 to five times lower, hmm, maybe to also sell you some additional stuff.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #186
Nematode
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Sea90 is the stuff I am using.
They are a bit over the top in their claims, but they have done chemical analysis, and I use this with hydrobuddy to calculate a mixture.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #187
zipcode
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I made a mistake 2 pages ago when calculating the NPK of 'the formula' (masterblend+calcium nitrate etc).
Noticed this when I saw accidentally someone selling pre-mixed stuff on ebay, and they call it (they and everyone else on amazon and wherever) 19-18-38 premix etc. Which is a big fat lie (not obvious it seems since no one in the amazon comments even mentioned this).
Those numbers are supposed to represent percentage of weight. But if you mix half masterblend and half whateverer in weight (be it sugar or calcium nitrate), you get half the values (yeah, obvious).
So the formula (rounded up a bit) is 7.5-7.5-15 +10Ca +3Mg (all values as oxide, except N).
So the complete Kristalon red if you would blend the 3 ingredients above would be quite exactly 12+6+2 oz (instead of 8+8+4) (if anyone cares, maybe it could be a better mix worth trying).

Later edit: looking at the cheapest prices on amazon, without shipping, comparing 4 complete fertilizers in reasonably bulk quantities (~5lbs or more/ingredient):
masterblend mix (self made, using 3 components, 7.5-7.5-15+ everything else) - 3.3usd/lb
miracle grow tomato complete (9-4-12+everything) - 3.1 usd/lb
texas tomato food (4.0-2.9-6.7 + everything, pretty much half strength of masterblend) - 2.3 usd/lb (assuming a sensible density of 1.3, no idea what the actual density is)
kristalon red ca (not available in usa) (11-11-24+everything) - 2.1 usd/lb

So in USA, miracle grow seems even cheaper than the powders somehow and it's premixed, which is a pro for the small grower who doesn't want to tweak anything, but not for a pro probably. TTF is not bad price but half strength, so basically the most expensive.
This doesn't tell the whole story, I have not compared how they actually perform, just comparing main raw numbers.

Last edited by zipcode; 4 Weeks Ago at 08:49 AM.
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